I'll post the trouble shooting steps that I come across and their results in case they help to isolate what I did wrong, or in the case someone else comes across the same issue! If you didn't know by now, I'm a noob at this...
I have a Mac, and figured out that I was using the wrong COM port. I picked up a starter book, "Getting Started with Arduino" by Prof. Banzi, and it says I should have been using the /def/cu/.usbmodemfa/141.
With the Uno only, I uploaded the "Blink" example to verify proper communication with the board. works as advertised.
I was concerned that the Uno output voltage was low: the output of the 5V pin was 4.75VDC.